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My Friend The Enemy by Dan Smith

The Souvenir

My Friend The Enemy by Dan Smith is a powerful children’s historical novel that completely consumed me. It is perfect for ages ten years and over. Whatever your age, this is a great read.

The book is set in 1941 in a village in the north east of England. All the action is seen through the eyes of twelve year old Peter, and is written in the first person. The reader becomes intimately acquainted with him. For the duration of the novel, I ‘became’ Peter.

We see how hard war is for everyone. Peter’s father is away at war; his friend Kim’s brother is fighting; and a German plane crashes near the village. Plus, there are raids and rationing. War touches everyone.

Peter’s mother functions as a single parent whilst his father is away. We witness the difficulty of trying to feed herself and Peter, and of being both mother and father to him.

The air raids are vividly portrayed. Bombs fall on the village as German planes shed their loads before flying home. A plane crashing in a field causes panic amongst the locals as a parachutist was seen minutes before but is nowhere to be seen. Hunt the Nazi becomes the latest craze.

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